Category Archives: Sustainability

Brownfields, Portfields and Sustainable Economic Development: The Case of New Bedford

 

New Bedford HarborCo-author: Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr.

Making the best of a bad situation is the American way. The well-known quotation “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” reinforces this perspective. Likewise, redefining weaknesses as strengths allows for greater latitude in strategic planning. For instance, smaller organizations can either bemoan the fact that they are limited by human and/or financial resources or embrace their size as a strength and promote their agility, responsiveness and ability to rapidly adjust to changing market conditions. Fortunately, in terms of economic development, this region provides us with numerous opportunities to redefine our weaknesses into strengths.

One such opportunity has the potential of not only becoming a strength, but of developing into a competitive advantage as well. However, the task of turning this weakness into a strength will require new thinking, new partnerships and a new approach to an old problem. What is the weakness of which we speak? Industrial sins of the past provide our region with an opportunity to establish itself as a center of excellence in environmental and sustainable economic development.

Anyone who has spent significant time in this area knows that New Bedford has been designated as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) superfund site, an EPA Brownfield Showcase Community and a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Brownfield Pilot Port. In addition to providing support to clean up the waterways and the port, these designations allow us to qualify for special grant funding in order to reclaim and/or develop brownfield sites for economically productive or recreational use. Essentially, brownfields are former industrial buildings (such as old mills, manufacturing facilities or power plants) or land previously used for industrial purposes for which there is little incentive for new development because of the liability associated with the cost of the mandated clean-up of the hazardous contamination at the site caused by the previous industrial use. The strategic advantage? New Bedford has over 20 years experience in dealing with superfund and brownfield sites. And we have plenty of potential sites to rehabilitate. By the late 1990’s, around 40 brownfield sites had been identified in New Bedford covering over 220 acres. In fact, cases like ours spawned a new term, “Portfields”, because of the proximity of active, working ports to contaminated brownfield areas. New Bedford is one of three portfield showcase communities in the U.S.A.

To date, different organizations within the region have received assessment grants, training grants, dredging support and over-time have developed expertise in the environmental clean-up market. Combined, the support money committed by various federal agencies exceeds an estimated $33 million and has generated in excess of 3,700 jobs. In brownfield grants alone, the EPA awarded the city of New Bedford over $1.8 million during the 1997-2003 periods. As a result, for every $1.00 of federal investment, a $22.50 economic impact was felt. One success story from this effort includes an $800,000 grant for the reclamation and clean-up of the Tallyrand site. After the clean-up, Aerovox Industries constructed a new facility on the site maintaining 400 jobs for the region and preventing a company relocation to outside of the country.

In summary, rather than view brownfield sites in the Greater New Bedford region as a weakness, the Sustainability Initiative at UMass Dartmouth seeks your partnership in transforming them into strengths. Collectively, we may advocate investing in the further development of our environmental expertise, to encourage local experts to incorporate their knowledge into environmentally oriented businesses and to “export” this expertise to the many others needy “Portfields” globally. The successful implementation of this initiative will require “outside-the-box” thinking and creative solutions in order to get the various interested stakeholders to function together synergistically – and it can all start here in the city that lit the world.

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Global Clusters Based on Energy Consumption, Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Paper Consumption Per Capita

Oil RigIn a recent journal article co-authored with Adam Sulkowski, we use model-based cluster analysis to examine 121 countries across three measures of environmental efficiency. The three measures – energy consumption (barrels of oil equivalent) per capita, emissions of CO2 (metric tons) per capita and per capita paper/paper products consumption (kilograms per person) – are all related to a country’s comparative resource usage efficiency and contribution to climate change, a primary global concern. Using the most recent complete data available from the World Resources Institute, and the R statistical software program, we find six distinct clusters (or groupings) of countries based on similarities in per capita resource use within the clusters and differences (known as distance) between the clusters.

We developed names for the resulting clusters based on the cluster centroids and the countries contained within each.

Developing countries:

The average per capita of energy consumption, CO2 emissions and paper product consumption in this cluster, as compared to Cluster 6, is 96, 98 and 95% less, respectively. More than half (14 out of 27) of the countries contained in this cluster are identified by the United Nations as Least Developed Countries. The countries contained in this cluster include Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Rapidly growing energy consuming countries:

The average per capita of energy consumption, CO2 emissions and paper product consumption in this cluster, as compared to the average consumption per capita of the members of Cluster 6, is: 85, 80 and 57% less. Of the 12 countries represented, the majority is from the Americas and Caribbean. The countries contained in this cluster are: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Iran, Jamaica, Mexico, Romania, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. It is interesting to note that half (six of the twelve) are oil-producing states (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Iran, Mexico and Venezuela).

Advanced developing countries:

In this cluster, the member countries consume on average 93% less energy, generate 99% less CO2 and use 79% less paper per capita than do the consumers of Cluster 6. Most of the countries in this cluster are considered to be emerging markets and/or contain moderate levels of income per capita. This cluster consists of the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bolivia, Botswana, China, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.

Middle energy paper consuming countries:

The members of this cluster consume an average of 46% more paper per capita than do the members of Cluster 6, while consuming an average of 72% less energy per capita and expelling an average of almost 59% less CO2 per capita. It is interesting to note that 19 out of the 30 countries in this cluster are members of the European Union. Just as interesting is the membership of some developing countries within this cluster. The countries are Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

High energy tree destroying countries:

This cluster is characterized by the highest per capita consumption of paper products, with its members consuming an average of almost two times more paper products per capita than Cluster 6. While member countries consume an average of 45% less energy per capita and expel an average of 37% less CO2 per capita than do the countries contained in Cluster 6, they are the second least energy efficient cluster. Contained within this cluster are countries with the reputation as having some of the most green-oriented consumers and policies on the planet. The countries in this cluster include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Norway, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.

Extreme energy usage and CO2 producing countries:

This cluster leads the world in average per capita energy consumption and average CO2 emissions per capita. This is the smallest cluster containing only Bahrain, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates. It seems fair to label these countries as the extreme in their energy use because of their relatively large average per capita consumption of energy: an average of almost 82% more than the second least energy efficient cluster, over 257% more than the third least energy efficient cluster and almost 567% more than the fourth least energy efficient cluster. These countries also produce extreme levels of CO2 per capita as compared to the other clusters (35% more than Cluster 5, 142% more than Cluster 4 and 393% more than Cluster 3). Furthermore, many of the countries in Cluster 4 and Cluster 5 have GDPs per capita and/or average standards of living that are higher than those found in the countries contained within this cluster.

White, D. Steven and Adam J. Sulkowski (2010)

By examining per capita consumption of resources, green marketers gain useful information on which to base their strategies. Likewise, the information may assist governments, public policy makers and private enterprises in their efforts to stimulate sustainable businesses and business practices. Thus, rather than being seen as a threat, measures of per capita consumption should be viewed as an opportunity – an opportunity to foster the development of new products or services designed to minimize resource use per capita while retaining or increasing standards of living globally.

Reference:

White, D. Steven and Adam J. Sulkowski (2010), “Relative Ecological Footprints Based on Resource Usage Efficiency per Capita: Macro-level Segmentation of 121 Countries”, International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 224-240.

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Defining Green Marketing

image by pomme_rewnyThe American Marketing Association (AMA) defines Green Marketing as:

1. (retailing definition) The marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. 2. (social marketing definition) The development and marketing of products designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality. 3. (environments definition) The efforts by organizations to produce, promote, package, and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns.

Until recently, the retailing definition was considered by the AMA to be sufficient. Thankfully, the definition has expanded to include the social marketing perspective and the environmental marketing perspective. Also known as environmental marketing and ecological marketing, the time has come for marketing practitioners to develop a comprehensive definition of green marketing. The purpose of this blog is to seek your assistance in formulating a new, comprehensive definition.

Using the traditional marketing mix, an overview of green marketing concerns and solutions is provided below. The links represent some of the best practices in green marketing efforts and are offered as a starting point to foster discussion.

Product

The first element of the marketing mix examined is product. Product represents the good or service offered. Green considerations for product include product materials, components and design, product packaging, product recycling or environmental impact, green supply chain management and carbon footprint impacts of product offerings. From a service perspective, the latter is the most important consideration. Sources of information for green product considerations include:

Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII):

“…the GPII is set up to be a resource for those who aspire to do “more good”. We promote an innovation-oriented model for eliminating toxic chemicals and other negative environmental impacts. The GPII prescribes a set of design principles, based on the laws of nature, to help businesses create products that are safe for people and the environment. This rethinking of how we design, manufacture, use and reuse materials will spur a new era of innovation, simultaneously driving economic, ecological and social prosperity.”

Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute:

“The Green Design Institute is a major interdisciplinary education and research effort to make an impact on environmental quality through green design. The central idea of the institute is to form partnerships with companies, government agencies and foundations to develop pioneering design, management, manufacturing, and regulatory processes that can improve environmental quality and product quality while enhancing economic development.”

Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC):

“…is an industry working group dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging. Through strong member support, an informed and science-based approach, visionary supply chain collaborations and continuous outreach, we endeavor to build packaging systems that encourage economic prosperity and a sustainable flow of materials.”

Issues related to the green supply chain, included under the discussion on product from a material input perspective, will be featured at the forthcoming Green Supply Chain Forum at Florida State University, 3-4 March 2011.

Place (Distribution):

Green logistical concerns seek to maximize distribution while minimizing negative impacts on the environment, mostly from a carbon footprint perspective. Managing logistical operations, modes and materials to minimize environmental impact is one of the more difficult tasks associated with green marketing. One of the leading sources of research on green logistics is a partnership between six U.K. Universities:

Green Logistics

“The main objective of logistics is to co-ordinate these activities in a way that meets customer requirements at minimum cost. In the past this cost has been defined in purely monetary terms. As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. This research project is examining ways of reducing these externalities and achieving a more sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives.”

Price:

Green pricing is not well researched, nor does it have an institute dedicated to its study. As highlighted in A Call to Eliminate the Green Premium, price considerations for green product and service offerings need to be adjusted to meet consumer expectations. While price is the only mechanism used by businesses to recover cost of production and to make a profit (fixed cost per unit, variable cost per unit and gross margin per unit), savings related to green business practices are expected to result in lower prices, not higher prices. More research is needed in the area of green pricing.

Promotion:

How green is your promotion mix (sales promotion, advertising, personal selling and public relations)? What is the impact of your print and digital media on the environment? Do you insist on the use of recycled paper, soy-based inks and energy efficient equipment? What is the carbon footprint of your promotion efforts? These questions are becomingly increasingly important for purchasers of advertising and communication services to ask of their suppliers. In the near future, agencies will need to quantify the impact on the environment of their communications output in order to be certified as approved green supply chain vendors. Championing the need for green communication efforts is the

Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC)

“ISC’s mission is to raise awareness, build capacity and foster the widespread adoption of economically viable, environmentally restorative and socially constructive uses of print and digital media.”

Defining Green Marketing

Is the AMA’s definition sufficient? In my opinion, green marketing encompasses so much more than offering green products/services. It should include considerations of green processes in all aspects of the marketing mix. Work with me to develop a comprehensive definition of green marketing by contributing to the comment section of this post. The synthesized definition will be presented in a future blog. How do you define green marketing?

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